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The Woodbridge Hotel in Guildford, Western Australia, has been a much-loved part of the Guildford community since it was built in 1902.

Over 122 years and for several generations of Guildford locals it has contributed strongly to the development of the town’s sense of community and pride in its history.

The hotel holds a remarkable place in the story of the district and was witness to the social transformations of the very early years of the 20th century.

The beginning: 1902–1906

The Woodbridge Hotel came to life just two years after the first four-wheeled car was driven in Perth, and 12 years before The Great War led to so many young lives from small towns such as Guildford being lost.

The town of Guildford, 12 kilometres north-east of Perth, was established in 1829 as a market centre for the surrounding agricultural areas, making it crucial to Western Australia’s trade and prosperity. The Woodbridge Hotel was an important addition to the town.

Mr. M.H. (Mitchell Henry) Grahame launched The Woodbridge in October 1902. It wasn’t long before it was receiving favourable notices in the papers. “Being built back from the street gives the house a semi-private appearance.

The spacious balcony overlooks the Guildford Show Ground and a splendid view of Guildford and the surroundings may be had from it.” It went on: “The whole of the building, fitting and furnishings, has been carried out regardless of expense, thus making this one of the most up-to-date hotels in Western Australia.”

The Mrs Doyle Era: 1906-1912

But despite the warm reception to his hotel, Mitchell Grahame didn’t stay long. In 1906 the hotel’s license was taken over by Mrs. Tom Doyle, a popular publican whose fame extended beyond Guildford, including gold miners from the Kalgoorlie area who reports suggest may have frequented her pub.

Mrs. Doyle was noted as “an ideal hostess and has forgotten more of the beer trade than many… ever knew.”

The next chapter: 1912–1920

In 1912 the hotel was taken over by Mr. Jabez Penn, an experienced hotelier with 18 years of successful experience in managing hotels in various parts of London.

Jabez Penn was a popular local identity whose motto was always merry and bright: ‘Never worry about tomorrow in case you die tonight’.”

Penn made considerable and much appreciated changes to the hotel which became a beloved community gathering spot.

It was noted that he was “determined to leave no stone unturned in his efforts to make his ‘house’ one that will appeal to all.”

Renovation included a new extensive lawn and a new verandah on the south side of the building, both adding considerably to the appearance of the premises and appeal as a place for large community gatherings and events.

World War I Connection

As World War One reached into small towns across Australia from 1914, The Woodbridge Hotel has a fascinating connection with three local men who were enlisted – William Murray Kennedy, Horace Schofield and John Crump – listing the hotel as their address.

Changing hands: 1920

With World War One over and as lives started to be re-built, The Woodbridge found a new owner.

After a long run as publican, on 15 March 1920, Jabez Penn transferred the hotel’s license to Alfred John Enright.

Alfred Enright was a well-known Western Australian identity, having already been publisher of The Daily News for several years.

The Woody today

The Woodbridge remains today an icon of Guildford and within its walls holds a long and proud history. Long may it continue to be the site of extraordinary stories.

Warning: Under the Liquor Control Act 1988, it is an offence: To sell or supply liquor to a person under the age of 18 years on licensed or regulated premises; or for a person under the age of 18 years to purchase, or attempt to purchase, liquor on licensed or regulated premises.
Licence Number: 6020002550, Class of Licence: Tavern, Licensee: AVC Operations Pty Ltd